3 must-use lists to manage your time

When I coach people or do speaking engagements, I always stress the importance of writing things down.


When you write things down, it frees your mind for more big picture thinking and you don’t have to worry about the details.

So these are the 3 lists I suggest you absolutely should use to manage your time more effectively:

1. Master list

This is a place for a “brain dump”, a place for ideas you might want to pursue in the future or possible projects you need to tackle.

You can work off one master list for months, like I do with my business or blogging ideas. Or you can have a master list for a certain period, like a week, and then rewrite it at the start of the next week.

I have a master list of things to do in the house which I’ve been working on since we moved in four years ago. Honestly, I think there will always be items on this list.

2. To-do list

This list can be monthly, weekly or daily.

The difference between this list and the master list is that this one has a time deadline to it.

I have a monthly to-do list – I keep this one with broad goals like go to the gym 10 – 12 times – a weekly to-do list with about 5 – 7 business tasks to get done and then my daily to-do list which spreads out those 5 – 7 tasks so that I have only 1 or 2 to do daily.

I want to caution you to only put a maximum of 6 items on your daily to-do list so you don’t become overwhelmed!

3. Checklist

This is a place with a list of items which you check/ tick off.

This list is ideal for anything you need to do regularly, like a list of weekly cleaning tasks, office supplies, routine business tasks, etc.

Once you start using the right list for the correct task, you’ll be flying!

You can download free master to-do and other lists at http://marciafrancois.com.

Do you use lists? Which are your favourite ones?

P.S. Mine is my weekly to-do list 🙂

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  1. Where do you keep all these lists that a) they don’t become part of the paper piles lying around the house, b) they are accessible and c) don’t get lost!
    The only list i can really manage and keep track of is my shopping list which is attached to my fridge magnetically – and it doesn’t move off there!

    • Marcia Francois says

      Megan, I keep the weekly one in my diary (loose) and toss it at the end of the week.

      Checklists I keep on the computer and only print when I need to use (like travel lists).

      The master list I generally keep in my Household Organising File. I have a business one too in a notebook that lives on my desk (it’s my “parking lot”)

  2. claire barn says

    I write a massive list of jobs to do each day. If I get time, i do it every day. It includes all the wee tidying jobs, and I break each job into manageable chunks. I dont write ‘tidy the sitting room’ I have-tidy floor, tidy windowsill, clean fire, hoover. I then do 3-5 at a time, and reward myself with a coffee, or read a magazine article, or text before starting the next chunk. I get a great sense of satisfaction marking all those jobs off as they are completed!

  3. Such a timely blog post for me! I love writing lists and working through them (have a 101 thinhs to do in 1001 days list on my blog), i tend to do this as a day list (nb: i said day, not daily, because I don’t always do it).

    I’ve never had a master list though, and really, i could do with one! Wgat you said about it freeing up your mind space is very appealing! Just today, i was (mentally) editing a manuscript when another book idea popped into my head and started buzzing around, distracting me. I mentioned it to my husband, who tols me to jot it down and i (arrogantly) told him it was safe enough in my head… What you said about freeing up mind space is so true though! So, i’m off to write the idea down! Thank you!


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